Sunday, January 30, 2005

Iraq War: For or Against?

Election day in Iraq has just concluded with only 36 dead and a larger than expected turnout, though not much is really confirmed yet.

At the moment, it looks like the elections are a victory for Bush and Neocons. It was the big game and the insurgents came out flat.

To be honest, I was and am against the Iraq war. Saddam is a piece of shit and the world is a better off place without him in power, but I think the war and its aftermath is still a very dangerous gamble. Yes, there is a chance that a democracy can be implanted and that would certainly be a good thing. But there is a better chance, in my opinion, that US involvement in Iraq will result in a civil war and/or another brutal dictatorship, costing many, many more lives and, for the US, billions and billions of dollars that we don't have (we do have a pretty big deficit right now, in case you didn't know). It bothers me that most Bush supporters I've argued with on other sites will not even acknowledge that there is a very real possibility that Iraq AND America might be much worse off in the long run.

However, I distance myself from most people who make up the anti-Iraq war/Anti-Bush crowd who are simply unwilling to acknowledge that the Iraqi people and eventually the whole Middle East might be better off from the Iraq War and subsequent country building. How many of the "anti's" admitted to being disappointed when the war was concluded quickly, seemingly preferring a long and drawn out conflict that would certainly take far more Iraqi lives than American? How many delight in pointing out the number of dead amassed since Bush announced victory? Too often I get the feeling from some "anti's" that they would love nothing more than to see chaos and a high body count of Iraqis and Americans only to justify their hatred of Bush and/or America.

What if the elections do lead to immediate positive changes? What if the Iraqi army and police force continue to strengthen in numbers to the point that foreign troops can be signficantly reduced within a few years? What if by this time next year the majority of Iraqis feel positively about the US and UK's involvement in Iraq?

Despite my misgivings of the war, I really want the above to happen. I want to be wrong. I take zero satisfaction of being "right" when people suffer.

Now you can argue, as I have done before, that the positive scenario above may not be likely, but it is certainly a possibility. There is, at this point anyway, nothing remotely noble about the insurgents. Nothing.  If the US continues to rebuild the country and really respects the new government's sovriegnty (am I hoping for too much? maybe...) then time is not on the insurgents side and we could see that positive scenario come to pass.

And if it does, those who protested the war should admit that to an extent they were wrong. We can grumble about Bush's true motivations and how much money Halliburton made, but in regards to the Iraqi people there would be no choice for those capable of being intellectually honest but to admit that things worked out for the better.

And how about all of you current Pro-Bush/neocons? What if one of the negative scenarios comes to pass and Iraq is nowhere close to being a stable country 5, 10, or even 20 years from now? Would you be willing to admit that Bush fucked up in a major way and the naysayers were basically right?

A while back I engaged in a debate on an Internet forum about the Iraq invasion shortly after the US had beaten Saddam's forces and the search for WMDs was on (the original reason for the war, for those who might have forgotten). The anti's said the WMDs would not be found and that the war was based on deceptive claims. The pro's said the WMDs certainly existed and would eventually be found, thus justifying the invastion.

At that time I posed a challenge to both sides:

  • If a signficant stockpile of WMDs were actually found, would the anti's then admit that Bush had some justification for invasion?

  • And if WMDs were NOT found, would the Pro-Bush people be able to admit that the invasion was a mistake?

Neither side took me up on it, nor gave any other possible future scenario that might prove themselves wrong. It became evident that those particular posters on both sides of the fence were not really interested in what was really true. They were either pro or anti Bush (or anti-America) and no amount of facts were going to disrupt their firmly established worldview.

Well, now the WMD issue is old news and freedom and democracy are the new justifications for the invasion.

Ok, I'll play along. There is nothing to gain about gloating over the nonexistence of WMDs and the fact is we are in Iraq and need to make the best of the current situation.

The Challenge

So can I propose a new challenge to both sides for those capable of admitting that there is a chance, no matter how slight, that their current views might be wrong?

I'm talking to those who are honest enough with themselves to admit that they might be wrong. I'm talking to the few out there who are capable of changing their worldviews when previously held ones do not stand up to new evidence.

If you find the way I structured the following questions restricting or even manipulative, then feel free to alter them.

Under what future circumstances would you admit that the war was right or wrong?

For the Pro-War crowd:

1. In terms of US/UK involvement in Iraq, if conditions are about the same as they are now (cost in lives and dollars) and Iraq is not an independent democracy by the year _____, I would change my views and consider the Iraq war and US led involvement a mistake.

Now for the Anti's:

1. If foreign troops (US and allies) are gone by the year _____, leaving Iraq a relatively stable and independent democracy, I would change my mind and view the Iraq war and US led involvement in a more positive light.

For the record, I'll give my own answers:

If foreign troops (US and allies) are gone by the year 2008, and Iraq is a relatively stable and independent democracy, I would change my mind and view the Iraq war and US led involvement in a more positive light.

I say 2008, because it is unrealistic to expect such major changes in a few years. However, if we are not much better off in 2008 than we are now then I think it is clear that war was far more costly than anyone bargained for.

Back to all things Korean in the future.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Bae Yongjun Teddybear

Noticed this on the Chosun ilbo site.

200501240015 The“Bae Yong-joon Teddy Bear” will hit stores shelves in Japan on Feb. 1. IMX, Bae’s management agency in Japan, announced that 5,000 “Joon Bear” teddy bears, priced at about W300,000 (US$291) each, would go on sale from February, the first in a line of official Bae Yong-joon products.

Personally, I'd hold out for the upcoming version of the "Joon Bear" that has the automated "bitch slap" feature.

No word if any of the IMX spokespeople were sporting shiners at the press conference. I imagine being assigned to Yong Joon is not exactly a coveted position in the agency.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Make (gay) love, not war

Via Joshua over at Katolic Shinja, this is just too hilarious.

The Pentagon briefly looked into making a weapon that would render enemy troops sexually attracted to one another, according to an official document uncovered by a watchdog group that monitors research into biological and chemical weapons.

Fanclub[I wonder what that weapon would look like? Something straight out of "The Ambigiously Gay Duo" series one would expect.]

The aphrodisiac chemical would be designed to make enemy soldiers sexually irresistible to each other.

[Now wouldn't THAT make for a great war movie scene? I'm sure Oliver Stone would do it right]

The resulting widespread homosexual behavior, the proposal suggests, would cause a "distasteful but completely non-lethal blow" to morale.

[No puns intended, I'm sure]

The proposal estimated that the cost of the project over six years would top $7 million.

[Oh man, that's chump change! And to think that if this proposal had been accepted, we would have had the "gay bombs" ready for the Afghanistan war. Can you think of a better target for forced gay sex than the Taliban?

Edward Hammond of the Sunshine Project [Uh, yeah, nice name for your group, "guys"] said he has seen several dozen similar military weapons proposals, but this 1994 Air Force plan was the only one he knew about that specifically addressed an anti-gay weapon. He added, however, that the sentiment behind the proposed weapon is not uncommon in the military.

Several dozen similar proposals? I guess they are really running low on new ideas on how to kill people. Either that, or the people making these proposals don't get out much.

And shouldn't that be labelled a "pro-gay" weapon?

Steve Ralls, a spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), said, "It is a homophobic and delusional proposition for the Pentagon to assume a gay opponent is any less formidable than a straight one."

In support of his argument that gay opponents can be just as formidable as heterosexual ones, Rall submitted this evidence.

Gd1 Click to enlarge

I disagree with Rall on this one though. Gays don't do camouflage, and would assuredly change into uniforms that, while certainly up to date with current fashion trends, might not be so practical on the battlefield. It's also a known fact that most gays find blood "icky"

Ralls also said that the SLDN, which is fighting the U.S. military's ban on openly gay military personnel, would look into the matter and would consider asking Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to repudiate the proposal.

Ok, but, wasn't this proposal already rejected 10 years ago?

And what happens if our enemies get the gay bomb first? Has anyone thought of that? It was all fine and dandy when our soldiers came back from wars only missing limbs, but can you imagine the horror of them coming back gay?

And what if terrorists get a hold of the gay bomb? A few well-placed gay bombs in Texas and the South and the next thing you know Jarret Barrios is in the White House with the First Lady now being referred to as the "First Life Partner." The end of the American way of life as we know it (though professional wrestling, I suspect, won't lose any popularity).

On the bright side, however, a gay Pat Robertson would be quite amusing.   

Pat20r20pray (Don't fret none Patty, it only really hurts the first time)   

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Sex and Foreigners

Here's his take on the English spectrum/Ask the Playboy "scandal" (check out Marmot for the full story)

I commented on this post (scroll down, look for the "scott" comments), particularly to how he tries to pin this scandal on America's "colonial view" of South Korea. His response stayed in true Benny form.

As for my take on this whole issue, for which I'm sure you have all been breathlessly waiting, here are some thoughts:

1. Playa Hataz

These "teachers" are lame. You want to be playboys? Fine, do it until your dicks fall off, but just keep it to yourself. To celebrate your conquests publically is just asking for it. You know how most Korean men feel about this and you had to know that sooner or later it would become known. It was dumb, and now you've jeopardized the safety of the girls in the pictures. Feeling good about yourself?

2. Throw another log on the fire

They've also added more fuel to the anti-foreigner fire that burns through a segment of Korean society. Life will be a little harder for all of us, particularly those in the education industry. I don't expect this to come anywhere near what happened in 2002, but it will have a noticable effect nonetheless. Any time we are out with a Korean female, be it a girlfriend, wife, co-worker or just a friend, we'll at least get more nasty looks and overhear more insults, the worst of which being directed at the woman who will automatically be regarded as a traitorous whore.

It's been 2 years since the 2002 protests, so perhaps we were overdue for some "kill round-eye" festivities anyway.

Ko1224This is "빠알류치(Calpis)," who seems to be the person who started the "Anti-English Spectrum" website for the noble purpose of saving all the Korean women. I think it is safe to say that he is not, nor will ever be a playboy. Nor is he likely to be a person who has come even close to degrading (or even touching!) a Korean woman, or any woman for that matter.

For the record, I would like to add my support to his lofty cause to drive out the foreigners who degrade Korean women. I hope he doesn't stop there, but broadens the campaign to drive out ALL men, not just foreigners, who degrade Korean women. It would do wonders for the overcrowding problem in Korea and it would sure make my morning commute a lot more peaceful. 

3. The Girls Are Alright

As I noted on the Dog Stew site, as reprehensible as these supposed "teachers" are, they are not doing anything that the Korean girls are not allowing them to do. This is obviously the toughest thing for Korean males to swallow on this issue (and looking over the discussion boards, it still looks to be a 99% male response to this thus far), but that's the way it is.

A part of that might be the way that Korean men treat (or don't treat) them, but I think most of it is just curiousity and attraction to the exotic that most people of all countries have. Being a foreigner in the States from the right country certainly raises ones' stock with the opposite sex. The episode of the Brit who went looking for (and finding lots of) love in the States in the movie "Love Actually" may have been a slight exaggeration, but it is true that anyone a little different from the ordinary gets more attention. 

Also, the attention caucasian males get from Korean females is not anything more than what caucasian females get from Korean men. It's well known that Russian prostitutes make top dollar here ("ride the white horse," as they say). Korean men on "business trips" to the SE Asian countries often act in ways that make the supposed "sex party" from these ESL teachers look like a church picnic. They do it if and when they can and not much is really done about it. Why the double-standard?

So anyone who automatically brands these girls as "sluts" needs a good  kick square in his hypocritical nutsack. They are just curious and perhaps a little foolish, just like everyone else was when they were young (or even the older ones). They don't deserve any of the shit they are getting.

4. Will the Blogs be next?

I wouldn't be surprised if more attention was paid to blogs in Korea as well by the more xenophobic portion of the netizens looking for a hate-fix. We are certainly a more well-behaved and gentlemanly lot (ahem...), but it wouldn't be that hard to find something to distort and amplify.

In short, massive hits may be coming soon!